TN50 #86, The World’s Greatest Lie, 29 August 2022

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #86.  One of the blessings of logging a lot of road miles, training for 7 marathons in 7 days, is I get to listen to and relisten to a lot of really good books.  As I listened to The Alchemist for the 4th time last week, I caught this exchange between Santiago (little boy) and Melchizedek (old man) for the first time.

Now before we get into this exchange, let me just say that if you haven’t listened to The Alchemist on Audible you should, Jeremy Irons does an amazing job narrating this little treasure trove of “GET YOUR BUTT MOVING” wisdom.  If you hate listening to books and you haven’t read The Alchemist read it!  It’s a great story full of things worth thinking about.

Anywho, let’s get back to the world’s biggest lie, according to the king of Salem, “…at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate…” 

Actually, one more side note for those who haven’t read or audibled the book.  The main character, Santiago, is constantly wresting with whether he is following his “personal legend”.  I take personal legend to mean destiny or the thing God put him on the planet to do.

The “world’s greatest lie” conversation occurs pretty early in the book, from that point on the tension between personal legend (destiny) and fate never lets up.

If you are like me, you may be thinking, what exactly is the difference between fate and destiny?  I also needed some help with the specific.  This is what the googles spit out:

The Difference Between Fate and Destiny: “Fate and destiny are both words dealing with a predetermined or destined future. That’s why they are so easy to mix up. However, while fate is concrete and determined by the cosmos, destiny depends on your choices in life.” (

The next thing that I thought about was my 25-year military career, there are many things in the military that seem like they line up more with “fate” than “destiny” but that’s muddy thinking.  I think for many of us, the military is simply just a part of our personal legend.  Three Operators immediately come to mind when I proof this thought: Stump, Limey and Sodbuster.  Best of the best and definite examples of how a soldier can be 100% focused on destiny vs. resigned to any specific fate, while serving and post military career.

So where do you fall on this?

Are you continuing to follow your personal legend to the end?  Or do you feel like fate is playing its hand and that it’s a good and fine thing?

These are a couple of the questions that might come up for you among the many other things worth thinking about in The Alchemist.  I’m leaving this one open here, no way for me to end this one with a “choose this not that” comment.  Just thinking with my keyboard, thanks for reading.  I would love to discuss this book with anyone who cares to.

Have a good one, Alex